All very emotional. But the facts can be found in U.S. Office of Management (OMB) figures, which show a gradual drop over the years in Corporate Income Tax as a Share of GDP, from 4% in the 1960s to 2% in the 1990s to 1.3% in 2010. The unweighted global average in 2005 was 3.4%.
Also coming from the OMB is the percent of Total Tax Revenue derived from corporate taxes(OMB Historical Table 2.1). The corporate share has dropped from about 20% in the 1960s to under 9% in 2010.
These 100 companies, with $5.67 trillion in 2010 revenue and almost $600 billion in pre-tax earnings, paid $57 billion, or 9.7%, in federal incomes taxes. If these 100 companies had paid the 35% tax designated by U.S. tax law, an additional $150 billion would have been collected in federal taxes in just one year. This is approximately equal to the total budget deficits for all 50 states.
From 2008 to 2010, Chevron paid less than 5% a year. Merck paid 5%. Hewlett-Packard 3%. Exxon 2%. IBM 2%. Carnival 1%.
Verizon and Boeing and Dow and DuPont all made profits three years in a row, but all paid zero taxes over the three-year period.
Banking leaders Citigroup and Bank of America, with a combined $8 billion of pretax earnings in 2009 and 2010, each paid zero taxes two years in a row.
So go ahead, cut the corporate tax rate to 25%. 25% of zero is the same as 35% of zero.
But if it means anything to the corporate CEOs, the United States is where you built your companies, utilize the infrastructure and transportation systems, benefit from years of scientific research, and make most of your sales.
Your tax avoidance may be 'legal,' but it's taking down our country.
Paul Buchheit is a faculty member in the School for New Learning at DePaul University, author of UsAgainstGreed.org and RappingHistory.org, and the editor of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.